Phytopathogen type III effector weaponry and their plant targets

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Aug;11(4):396-403. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.06.007. Epub 2008 Jul 24.


Phytopathogenic bacteria suppress plant innate immunity and promote pathogenesis by injecting proteins called type III effectors into plant cells using a type III protein secretion system. These type III effectors use at least three strategies to alter host responses. One strategy is to alter host protein turnover, either by direct cleavage or by modulating ubiquitination and targeting the 26S proteasome. Another strategy involves alteration of RNA metabolism by transcriptional activation or ADP-ribosylation of RNA-binding proteins. A third major strategy is to inhibit the kinases involved in plant defence signaling, either by the removal of phosphates or by direct inhibition. The wide array of strategies that bacterial pathogens employ to suppress innate immunity suggest that circumvention of innate immunity is crucial for bacterial pathogenicity of plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • RNA Stability
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Plant Proteins